Dr John - Remedies (1970)

Sorry for the silence, I was just living. Requested by nobody but me, because it is too long I didn't post anything by one of my heroes, the great Dr John. Moreover, this album is still very expensive to find (not to dl I admit, only to get on CDor vinyl) so it's not a bad idea to make it available easily. So get in the voodoo world of the zulu man here.

For an unknown reason this album is no more available anywhere and can be only bought at expensive fares when the previous and the next ones on the same label are easy and cheap to get. It's not even included in the Atco Original Album Series CD. So, songs on this LP can be a little considered as forgotten ones although you can get them by legally paid MP3 in the US, but not in Europe. So, I decided to post this LP from my CD version (good quality). Remedies is the 3rd Dr John LP, and it's a little bit disappointing for who see the cover sleeve and hoped that it would be a new chapter of the voodoo-tainted music of Gris-Gris and Babylon. Actually, the album is separated in two completely different styles. A first one consists in rather lightweight and festive New Orleans music (from "What Goes Around" to "Mardi Gras Day") and a second one, much more in the magical wave of Gris-Gris, and notably the long second side track called "Angola Anthem" which is a sort of mucical mystic experience to do all lights shut and with some strangely smelling candles burning in your room and a young virgin to sacrifize if you want to go as far as possible but don't fool yourself, the song is about the Angolan War of Independance against the Portuguese that will end 4 years after the album release (actually I was wrong, see Shane's comment, it is about a US prison, sorry about my error). Not a soft one judging by these lines from John Marcum "The Portuguese vengeance was awesome. The police helped civilian vigilantes organize nightly slaughters in the Luanda slums. The whites hauled Africans from their flimsy one-room huts, shot them and left their bodies in the streets. A Methodist missionary... testified that he personally knew of the deaths of almost three hundred." The song is only about the slavery conditions in Angola but it's good to remind how colonialism was an horror Europeans have been guilty of and how it's finally a good backlash that Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and UK, all colonialists, are facing a crisis that will throw them in misery when they did so much harm in their history. Enjoy this now-a-rarity LP.


Shane said...

Thanks for rescuing this gem.
I have to point out that Angola Anthem refers to the Louisiana State Prison at Angola. Not far from your description of the colonial powers in Africa since the prisons here have historically been run (and to some extent still are) in a neo-colonial fashion often using the convicts as slave labor.

Shane, a not always proud native of Louisiana

jonder said...

Thank you for this Dr. John album. I agree with the comment above: even though the song is about a notorious US prison (like "Parchman Farm"), your sentiment about slavery is still well-founded. The work camps and chain gangs of the 20th century were no different than slave labor. Even today, as argued in the book "The New Jim Crow", the disproportionate incarceration rate for black men can be viewed as a form of enslavement.

dkelvin said...

@Shane. Thx to have provided the true explanation of this song. I son't remember where i had found this interpretation of the colonial war in Angola.
@Jonder. Thx for your comment.
@all. I'll try to verify more accurately my interpretations prior to posting.